10/08/2007 - 12:52

Alinta delivers first half profit of $96m

10/08/2007 - 12:52

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Energy utility Alinta Ltd has delivered a 20 per cent increase in first half profit on the back of a significant rise in revenue, ahead of next week's shareholders' meeting to approve its sale.

Alinta delivers first half profit of $96m

Energy utility Alinta Ltd has delivered a 20 per cent increase in first half profit on the back of a significant rise in revenue, ahead of next week's shareholders' meeting to approve its sale.

The result included $19.6 million in legal and regulatory expenses which primarily related to the costs incurred in relation to its sale process.

Alinta's net profit after tax was $96.5 million for the six months to June 30, compared to the $80.3 million delivered in the corresponding period of 2006.

The increase in profit was driven by an 82 per cent increase in revenue to $1.14 billion, compared to $625.4 million in the previous corresponding half of 2006.

"Alinta has maintained excellent operating performance throughout the last six months, despite the heightened corporate activity around the company sale process," acting Alinta chief executive Peter Magarry said.

The reported profit was $7.1 million higher than the expected profit of $89.4 million disclosed in the company's scheme booklet. The difference mainly arose because Alinta made a non-cash $9 million profit on its interest rate and foreign currency hedging portfolio.

Investment firm Babcock & Brown Ltd and its consortium partner Singapore Power International are in the process of acquiring Alinta after trumping a rival proposal by Macquarie Bank Ltd.

Alinta chairman John Akehurst continued to recommend the offer to the company's shareholders, who are due to vote on the proposed acquisition on August 15.

"Directors believe that the offer from the consortium is in shareholder's best interests and we recommend that all shareholders vote in favour," Mr Akehurst said.

Alinta's first half results were bolstered by a six-month contribution from the assets acquired through the AGL Energy Ltd transaction last year.

The energy utility picked up AGL's infrastructure asset and asset management business (Agility) following a $6.8 billion "asset swap" between the two groups.

The AGL assets helped Alinta deliver a 458 per cent increase in revenue to $329.6 million from its energy distribution division and a 113 per cent increase in asset management revenue to $567.9 million.

Alinta's portfolio includes electricity and gas distribution networks, power plants, gas pipelines, wind farm, asset management arm and an interest in an energy retailing unit.

Alinta shares were 31 cents lower at $14.57 by 1524 AEST.

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